How to minimize the two-row juggle

Posted on June 16, 2009 | 2 Comments

As I'm sure you've all noticed, I tend to use handpainted yarns more often than not. Most of the time when you're knitting a project that will use more than one ball of handpainted yarn, the look of your finished project can greatly benefit from alternating skeins. This is nothing new -- I'm pretty sure you're all familiar with the concept of working from 2 skeins at a time, working a couple of rows with one, then switching to the other and carrying the yarn up the side. Right?

Well, if you've done it even half as much as I have, you also know what a giant PITA it is to do it! The strands tangle, the edge can pucker (or just as bad, spread out!), and if you travel and knit like I do, carrying two balls is more than twice as annoying as carrying just the one. Which is where this simple-yet-awesome tip comes in, and it's so amazing that I thought it deserved its own post!

See how drastically different the size of these two balls of yarn is? This is my laceweight Leila shawl (now finished, thankyouverymuch!), which is knit out of Malabrigo Laceweight. The two skeins were pretty close to begin with, but one definitely had slightly longer color patches than the other and I was sure I'd be able to see it in the finished product if I didn't blend the two balls together. But I really didn't want to have to carry both balls around, so I went with the compromise:

Start with just one ball and knit to about the half-way point of that ball (it doesn't need to be exact, just eyeball it). Then join the second ball and do 2 rows from one, 2 rows from the other, until ball #1 is done. Then just continue on with ball #2!

The beauty of this simple trick is that it saves about 50% of the 2-ball knitting, but it blends the two colors so thoroughly that you can't tell the difference! I wouldn't use this "cheat" if the two skeins were drastically different (well, unless the visible blending effect would add to the finished project, which it totally could!), but if they're pretty close this trick will save you tons of frustration and untangling.

I like this so much, I'm using it on my next project already . . . but more on that next time! I can tell you it's Koigu, though . . .

Posted in handpainted yarn, knitting, Knitting Techniques, knitting tips, Yarn

Finished and Blocking!

Posted on March 02, 2009 | 4 Comments

I finished this shawl and even managed to block it right away over the weekend! It came out really well, and the pointed border I had played around with (really easy to make, just YO's and double decreases) turned out even better than I expected! I'm so pleased with this design I'm moving right along to the pattern-writing and layout stage, I'm hoping to offer this pattern for sale sometime in the very near future.

I decided to offer two sizes of this design, this full size, knit in a light fingering weight yarn, and a shawlette size, knit in thicker fingering for a quicker FO. Here's a shot of that sample:

I'm using Blue Moon's Socks that Rock in the color Tanzanite, which really looks as gorgeous as it looks in this picture. I've only knit a tiny big with STR, I think this is my second project, and I am really surprised by how much this yarn winds back up on itself as you work! The color totally makes up for it though, I'm not a huge fan of how their yarns pool and flash in sock knitting, but in something like a triangle shawl, where the stitch count keeps changing, the dye style really looks super-interesting and adds a little extra something to the pattern.

I'm much further than this with this shawlette now, might even have it done tomorrow . . . I've decided to name this design "Leila," and since coming up with a name is one of the hardest parts of designing knitting patterns for me (honest!), that bodes well for the publication date for this shawl. With any luck I could have the shawlette size done & blocked, and both photographed, and the pattern up for sale next weekend. That's my official goal anyway . . . let's see if I can keep from getting sidetracked!

Oh, and if anyone is just itching to get your hands on this pattern ASAP, and might be interested in test knitting it . . . well, leave me a comment and I just may drop an advanced copy in your inbox for your testing pleasure. I've never done that before but since so many other (better-established!) online designers are doing it, I thought I'd give it a try!

Posted in handpainted yarn, knitting, lace, shawl knitting

Purple streak

Posted on January 20, 2009 | 2 Comments

This is the 2nd of 4 purple projects I'm "actively" working on right now! I do seem to go in spurts when it comes to color, don't I?

I posted when I started this sock (on November 10th!!) but haven't mentioned it since . . . notice I'm saying "sock" not "socks"? Yeah this is the only one I have right now, although the second one is already to the heel.

It would have been done by now had I not managed to break two DPNs during my commute last month and then been unable to replace the needles for almost a week. Now, if you're thinking "But Ivete, don't you have multiple sets of size 1 dpns by now?" you are, of course, correct. However, I couldn't find even ONE SINGLE size 1 double point when I went digging, and I even went so far as unearthing the DPN case I haven't seen since the move . . . and in it I found probably 15 sets of dpns, but no size 1's. If I weren't so compulsive I could have used on size 2 and probably been fine in the end, but I don't like to do that . . . although I can't give you a reasonable reason why it would be a problem. It just bothers me.

Hum. Seems like even 2 months later I'm still annoyed about breaking those needles!

In any case, I bought a replacement set of needles from Purl a few days later and went back to knitting, the second sock even went with me to several movies over the Christmas holiday (aside: If you're that last person who hasn't seen Slumdog Millionaire, GO SEE IT! Trust me!). If only I could learn to turn a heel in the dark, that second sock might be done right now . . .

By the way, I am still in total love with this color. Is it weird that part of me wishes I had "saved it" so that it wouldn't be getting "used up" by this project? Yeah, I know it's weird. It does kind of explain some things, though . . . namely the number of skeins of Koigu in my bedroom at the moment. But you all knew that about me already, right?

Posted in handpainted yarn, knitting, Koigu, Sock knitting


Posted on May 31, 2008 | 5 Comments

Imagine that title as if Keanu were saying it in The Matrix. That's how it sounds in my head.

This is what made me say/hear it:

I cast on this sock at approximately noon today. And just bound off, before midnight. No, I did not work on this all day -- I would venture to guess it took less than 4 hours to knit from start to finish. There's certainly something to be said for knitting socks on thicker yarn and bigger needles!

That said, my design didn't work in this gauge and the 2 colors are too close to show the detail. I gave it up and just worked plain socks with a gusset short row heel and ribbed cuff. I also realized that this is too thick a sock for my taste: it's quite heavy and feels more like a slipper than a sock. I will probably wear these to bed in the winter, they're definitely too thick to wear in shoes.

If you're wondering about the design, I worked out all the details and will try again on normal sock yarn, with more contrasting colors, sometime soon. AND the design process produced another colorwork sock design, so you may be seeing more than one sock design around these parts in the near future . . . although you should know that when I say "in the near future," I really mean After Wedding. Meaning late August at the earliest.

Posted in handpainted yarn, knitting, Sock knitting


Recent Posts